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Martian Cat, Disappearing Sun, Babylonian Algebra and More Mysterious News Briefly — August 5, 2021

Mysterious News Briefly — August 5, 2021

Dr. Shanna Swan, a leading epidemiologist and environmental expert, says pollution filled with industrial chemicals from plastics manufacturing is causing human penises to shrink. No, the solution is not to sell little blue pills in cardboard boxes instead of plastic bottles.

An international team of space scientists using data from the Keck Observatory in Hawaii created the most-detailed yet global map of Jupiter’s upper atmosphere and confirmed for the first time that Jupiter’s powerful aurorae are responsible for delivering planet-wide heating, thus solving the ‘energy crisis’ caused by previous models of how heat flows on the planet. Now we need someone on Jupiter to help solve OUR energy crisis.

French astronaut Thomas Pesquet posted a video on social media of the Russian space module Pirs after it was separated from the ISS, became a fireball as it hit the atmosphere before breaking into a shower of flaming pieces. “Best use of a Russian module ever,” thought NASA scientists still mad about the new module flipping over the ISS.

Space scientists in Japan are testing a microwave-powered propulsion system for rockets that would deliver power wirelessly to the engine, avoiding the need for carrying and expending the huge amount of rocket fuel used during takeoff. Hopefully, there’s enough microwave power left when they get into orbit for some celebratory popcorn.

A long-lost piece of Stonehenge that was taken by a man performing restoration work on the monument in 1958 has finally been returned and researchers studying it (samples can no longer be taken from the stones) found some of the rock grains date back 1.6 million years. However, even under intense pressure, they still wont reveal how they got there.

The Mars Curiosity rover sent back a photo of a tiny (6.5 in or 16.5 cm tall) rock feature in Gale Crater that people have been likening to a standing lizard, a cat on a jet ski, a gate, a stone arch (for tiny Martian parades) and a DNA strand. Whatever it is, Cats on Jet Skis sounds like a great band name.

Residents of the village of Kobyai in the Russian republic of Yakutia posted videos of the sun being completely blacked out in the middle of the day and ash falling from the sky due to severe forest fires raging on the nearby Kobyai-Byas-Kyuel highway. Russia always keeps its people in the dark but this is too much.

The mystery of how the body regulates blood pressure may have been solved by University of Virginia School of Medicine researchers who located natural blood-pressure barometers or “baroreceptors” in specialized kidney cells called renin cells. Now if they could only explain which blood pressure number we’re supposed to be more worried about.

The US Navy is developing an uncrewed solar-powered aircraft called the Solar Impulse 2 that will fly for 90 days at a time and be used as a communications relay platform or a constant spy eye in the sky for ships. Get ready for political candidates to buy them to tow those annoying banners for weeks at a time.

An Australian mathematician studying engravings on 3,700-year-old Babylonian tablet determined that they are the world’s oldest and most accurate trigonometric table and were probably used for surveying 1,000 years before Pythagoras came up with Pythagorean triples — three whole numbers in which the sum of the squares of the first two equals the square of the third. Did Babylonian students take one look at the stone and decide to major in philosophy instead?

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Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.
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